A Dublin based publisher has criticised Facebook, after it blocked an advertisement placed to promote a book about Glenstal Abbey.

The social media company said the post violated its rules regarding images of nudity.

Several paintings by a member of the Benedictine religious community are featured in the book 'Glenstal Abbey - Through The Seasons'. Some depict images of a nude male. The work, by Br Emmaus O'Herlihy, hangs in the Abbey’s library.

Gerry O’Sullivan of Columba Books said he felt the social media company should get its priorities in order and go about dealing with other, more offensive, content.

He said that instead of targeting artists and publishers, Facebook should be tackling more harmful posts on the network.

Facebook says it permits photographs of paintings, sculptures and other art that depicts nude figures in its content policies, which means Glenstal Abbey is free to post pictures containing nudity in art on its Facebook Page.

However, the company's advertising policies do not allow nudity in advertising.

It says that while this may appear blunt, universal guidelines are used in this regard, so there can be a uniform, global response.

The Dean of LIT's School of Art and Design said the decision raised questions about "cultural conservatism".

Mike Fitzpatrick said the depiction of a naked male was in "the canon of portraiture" when it came to depicting partially dressed figures. He said he felt there was nothing in any way inappropriate, in any shape or form, about the picture.

The book features an extensive photographic record of all aspects of day to day activity at the Co Limerick abbey, over the course of a year. It includes images of everything from beekeeping to bookbinding and from the monks' religious observation to their recreational time.